Santos sensation Kaiky dreaming of European transfer as Barcelona hold first refusal option on NXGN star

Kaiky Santos
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The highly-rated Brazilian defender is already attracting plenty of interest, but he will be careful not to rush his ongoing development

Santos’ teenage sensation Kaiky admits that he “dreams” of making a move to Europe at some point in the near future, with Barcelona holding a first refusal option on him if a big-money transfer is to be put in place.

The talented 18-year-old defender is attracting plenty of admiring glances after bursting onto a senior stage in his homeland, with Premier League heavyweights such as Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea also credited with interest in the recent past.

They would all sit behind Barca in any queue, though, as Santos president Andres Rueda revealed to Sport that the Liga giants have been given the chance to match any offers after previously seeing similar promises broken when it came to Gabigol, and Kaiky is making no secret of his ambition.

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What has been said?

Kaiky NXGN 2022

The highly-rated centre-half, who claimed 30th spot on the 2022 NXGN list, told GOAL of his future plans: “Every player dreams of playing for the Brazil national team and to play in Europe, but I'm only in my second year as a professional here at Santos.

“I intend to spend lots of years here, I have such a passion for this club, I'm very grateful to them as well, but only God knows what the future holds.

“We know that things tend to move very fast in football. I dream of playing in Europe one day, but right now I am 100 per cent focused on being here.”

Who is Kaiky looking to emulate?

The youngster, who briefly became the youngest Brazilian to score in the Copa Libertadores when netting against Deportivo Lara at the age of 17 years and 25 days in March 2021, has been likened to fellow countryman Marquinhos.

He is happy with those comparisons, with the Paris Saint-Germain captain somebody that he looks up to.

“He is my role model, the guy who inspires me a lot because people compare his style of play with my own, and I think it's very much alike,” Kaiky said of Marquinhos.

“Every time when it's possible, I like to watch him playing because I learn a lot.”

Kaiky has taken a similar path to Marquinhos when it comes to ending up as a ball-playing centre-half, with the Santos starlet also beginning life as a midfielder before taking a step down the field.

He added: “When I started I wanted to play as a holding midfielder. I liked to play there, because my managers always told me I had a good vision.

“So first I was a holding midfielder, but it turned out our coach was in need of centre-backs and I improvised. And then I liked it and ended up as a centre-back. I like to see the game being played in front of me.”

How has Kaiky developed?

NXGN 2022 Kaiky

Now one of the hottest prospects in world football, Kaiky hopes he boasts all of the qualities that will allow him to prosper for many years to come.

On the characteristics of his game, he said: “I always played with and against teams one year older than me, so that helped me a lot when I got into the first team. I was more mature to play.

“I knew that the first team would be very different from the youth levels, but in the beginning lots of coaches helped me to improve my game. And my game has always been, since the youth ranks, one played with calm and tranquillity with the ball at my feet.

“Being with the Brazil youth teams or with Santos, I was always trying to develop good chances for the attacking players. So that helped me a lot when I became a professional player.”

Pride at being NXGN list

Kaiky was always going to be included in GOAL’s rundown of the best wonderkids on the planet, and he is proud to have joined the likes of Jude Bellingham, Gavi and Florian Wirtz on an illustrious roll of honour.

“I feel very proud and I have a lot of people to thank,” he said.

“To know that our job is not just being recognised here in Brazil but abroad as well, thank you very much for this award.

“When I received the news that I would be included I was very happy. The first people that I contacted to tell were my parents, of course. They were so happy and proud. It was happiness all over the family.”

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